Friday, April 13, 2012

Escaping consumerism, riding to greatness

Probably the most effective key to success, aside from harnessing the powers of the mind as advocated by self-improvement gurus such as James Allen and Napoleon Hill, is climbing out of the materialistic hole of consumerist culture.  I’ve written before of the utter vacancy of American consumerism, and how swimming in its streams will award you a ticket down the path of unhappiness and misery.   In this post, I endeavor to take this one step further, and argue that consumerism is like quicksand, dragging you down into its pits farther away from your spot in the sunlight and farther away from your goals.  No man ever achieved a goal worth fighting for by being a consumer, just like there are no great men who are remembered by being consumers.  Newton, Shakespeare, Dickens, Da Vinci, Gates, the list goes on... were all individuals who acquired greatness because they created, not just consumed.  Consuming is easy; creating is hard.  Anybody can indulge in mindless entertainment, whether that takes the form of watching TV, eating junk, or buying the latest fad.  Not everyone can create something worthy of merit, not without effort that is. 

Although men are primarily driven by the sense of accomplishment, this drive will be usurped by the call of short-term gratifications.  Once he takes the bait, he will be sucked in an acid vat of vacant tail chasing, always striving for more because enough is never enough.  It’s like the fattie who eats more food to feel better about himself; it’s a temporary balm with negative long-term consequences.   Man’s drive toward accomplishment is then zapped, being overridden by his exercises in self-indulgence.  His pleasure lasts only until he amuses himself to death. 

Moreover, the consumerist pressures society imposes mark the most significant hindrance to any aspiring individual.  The key is escape them.  Jesus of Nazareth was right all along.  The gates of hell are wide and the pearly gates of heaven narrow. One must escape this world to succeed.  Your plan of self-improvement is a direct boycott of consumerism. 

What I’ve said before merits repeating: Build, create, and refine, not just consume.  This is something that we all, especially myself, need to put more effort into.  Society has dumbed our standards down so low that we are often under a false sense of complacency.   

In whatever case, be the guy who sees the crowd from the field’s view. Don’t be the critic Theodore Roosevelt scoffed at. Consuming offers neither the glory of victory nor the blow of defeat.  Instead you have to put yourself at risk, knowing that you will fail again and again.  But on the back of failure rides success.  You will have haters, and you will revel in them. But most of all, you will feel a high that no consumption of entertainment, substance, or thing will ever give you. The high of achieving, the sense of accomplishment, and the splendor of action will spur you on to the road of greatness.


  1. A few months ago I completed an exodus that began with giving up TV and led to giving up news, websurfing, porn, (most) movies, and shit food. When I took all the garbage out of your life it was a bit of a shock, and I had a definite down period. After that I emerged with motivation, focus, and creativity at an all-time high. I'm still far from where I want to be but it's all about baby steps. Making the change from consumer to producer is absolutely huge.

  2. The above should read "my life," not "your life." Your life's fine.

  3. Awesome. That's good to hear, Dan. I wish you the best of luck as you continue to do what most Americans won't. Keep it up brother!